Take a step off the beaten path and you'll find yourself experiencing Charleston as it was before automobiles took over the city. If you know where to look, you'll find some of the oldest and most charming alleyways in the south. Here are some of our favorites.
Stretching from East Bay to State Street, Lodge Alley is truly a step back to another time and it offers one of the most stunning views of St. Philip’s steeple in all of Charleston. Foodies may get sidetracked by the wealth of delicious choices at the East Bay end (including two of the city’s more well-known, Magnolia’s and High Cotton) but you won’t regret walking the full length. Time your stroll perfectly and you’ll get to hear the bells of St. Phillips as they chime and echo down this cobblestone hideaway.
Just a block further south from Lodge Alley, you’ll find your way into Unity Alley, a deliciously pink cut-through from State to East Bay. Lined with brick and cobblestone, this alley is the home to McCrady’s Tavern, which according to its website is renowned for a prestigious grand dinner party thrown for President George Washington during his southern tour in 1791. With a beautiful entryway like Unity Alley, what president wouldn’t want to visit?
Nestled into a quiet section of the French Quarter, cobblestone-clad Philadelphia Alley runs between Queen and Cumberland Streets. Also known as ‘dueling alley,” Philadelphia is said to be the hot spot for duels, which were legal in Charleston until 1881. High brick walls, lots of secluded shade and no way out except the two ends, one block apart, must have made this the perfect place to settle differences! With the Footlight Players Theatre on one side and the St. Phillip’s Church Graveyard on the other, this alleyway is surely full of stories. One of Charleston’s most famous residents, country music star and Grammy Award winner, Darius Rucker must find it charming, too. He shot a good portion of his music video for “Come Back Song” in Philadelphia Alley.
Part street, part secluded alley, Longitude Lane is thought to be one of the original streets within the Old Walled City, which dates all the way back to the late 1600’s. Stretching from East Bay to Church Street, this passageway serves up some serious southern charm. Paved with cobblestones and lined with classic Charleston homes and doorways, this one is a must-walk for visitors and residents, alike.
Don’t blink, or you might miss this one as you make your way down East Bay Street from Rainbow Row to the Battery. Quite possibly the narrowest and most mysterious alley in Charleston, Stoll’s is the place to go on hot summer day. Lined with cool brick and lots of greenery, it’s a little oasis nestled between East Bay and Church.
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Photo Credit: @CharlestoNspired